Kicking Kirchmeier.

Oceti Sakowin Camp. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

There’s a petition, and yes, I know people get petition tired, but please click on over and sign this one, to remove the murder-minded and incompetent Kirchmeier from his position as Sheriff of Morton County. Kirchmeier took a brutal stance from the beginning, and as some of you will recall from the Standing Rock posts, he spread misinformation and outright lies from the beginning, and never stopped telling lies, either. He used all the climate justice warriors as an excuse to spend outrageous amounts of money on military equipment, so he could play a latter day Custer, obviously hoping for better results. In the end, his unholy alliance with the oil companies worked out just fine for him, giving him equipment to oppress and harm, all while lining his pockets. Please help out by adding your name to the petition.
 
Remove Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, of the Morton County Sheriff’s Office.

15 Million Dollars.

Chemical warfare, Turtle Island, Oceti Sakowin Camp, November, 2016. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

New York Daily News writer Shaun King obtained audio where Energy Transfer Partners freely admitted that they worked closely with the Sheriff’s Association, and wow, did they ever. They became one and the same.

Water protectors who lived at camp can attest to ETP and law enforcement’s collusion and fraternization, but the record speaks for itself.

The Sheriffs’ Association has a $3.46 million dollar budget, according to tax forms. Some of this funding comes from corporate sources, like TigerSwan. TigerSwan maintains offices in Iraq and Afghanistan. TigerSwan’s CEO is a former adviser to the multinational private security firm, Blackwater. Blackwater was founded by Erik Prince, a Trump campaign donor and the brother of Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education. Besides funding the Sheriff’s Association, TigerSwan is in charge of Dakota Access intelligence and supervising overall security for the company. Tigerswan works for Dakota Access, while funding and partnering with the Sheriffs’ Association.

The Sheriff’s Association purchased military gear from the U.S. Department’s Defense Logistics Agency thanks to the Defense Department’s 1033 program. Think corporate welfare for the defense industry.

Wait, there’s more. Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren offered to reimburse North Dakota and Morton County for costs due to defending the Dakota Access Pipeline.

So why are U.S. taxpayers forking over $15 million dollars to North Dakota?

Despite the fossil fuel industry’s wishes, America is not an oil company with an army. We should not be bankrolling our own oppression.

Incidentally, the Dakota Access Pipeline is not even operational yet, and it’s already sprung a leak in South Dakota, just southwest of the Lake Traverse Reservation. End this foolishness.

Ruth Hopkins at Indian Country Today has the full story.

Zuul crurivastator.

Zuul crurivastator, a newly discovered species of armoured dinosaur named after a creature from Ghostbusters, is shown at the Royal Ontario Museum. (Andrew Francis Wallace).

“It has this very short, broad snout, and then it has these two sets of horns that project backwards from the eye; one above the eye and one a little bit further down. And that’s exactly what we see in the skull of this dinosaur.”

Research on the new species, led by Arbour, was published in the May issue of the Royal Society OpenScience journal.

Zuul, the dinosaur, is about 75 million years old. Its body was found in a river deposit in Montana’s Judith River Formation and spanned about six metres long.

The dinosaur’s skeleton was found almost entirely intact, according to Evans, noting it was “remarkably preserved” under 10 metres of rock.

“This is a dinosaur that would not have been exposed for paleontologists to find for probably hundreds of years, maybe thousands of years,” he said. “The fossil was never exposed to modern erosion or plant roots . . . so that means we have a level of preservation that is jaw-dropping.”

The skeleton had to be broken up into several pieces in order to be removed. Zuul likely weighed about 5,500 pounds, equivalent to the size of a white rhinoceros.

“This is very rare, to find a complete articulated skeleton, especially for this group of dinosaurs,” Arbour said. “They’re just not as common.”

Its species name, crurivastator, means “destroyer of shins,” a reference to a large knob of bone at the tip of its tail, which may have been used to strike the legs of predatory dinosaurs in defence, or for battle during contests for mates.

Researchers have preserved the large, sharp bony spikes that formed in Zuul’s skin over its tail and likely the entirety of its body, forming its armour. They also managed to maintain very rare keratin sheaths — the same material which forms finger nails, bird beaks and the top of turtle shells — and soft tissues such as its scales.

While the dinosaur’s colour is unknown, Evans said they believe it may have been brightly coloured due to its outer keratin layer.

Full story here.

Yeah, That Will Make Us Great.

Ahhh, the oh fucks are piling up again, a brief roundup…

Reveal News reported Friday that Trump plans to cut $60 million from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, which fights child labor, human trafficking and slavery around the world.

“The preliminary budget of President Donald Trump’s administration would eliminate $60 million in grants from the bureau’s budget, calling them ‘largely noncompetitive and unproven,’” wrote Reveal News’ Jennifer Gollan. “It suggested that the agency instead focus its efforts ‘on ensuring that U.S. trade agreements are fair for American workers.’”

The cuts would cripple the government’s ability to monitor child exploitation around the world and potentially interfere with tenets of 13 separate trade agreements. Furthermore, the measures would ultimately have the opposite effect of what the president intends. By allowing other countries to exploit child workers and other laborers, U.S. workers will be put at a disadvantage for using fair labor practices.

Full story here. Exploiting children, that’s sure to make Amerikkka Great Again, right?

Moving on to Health and Human Services, the Tiny Tyrant has appointed a vicious anti-choice activist. Well, as we all know, women don’t count for shit, so this certainly won’t downgrade that greatness, right?

President Donald Trump has tapped a well-known anti-abortion activist, Charmaine Yoest, for the position of assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Yoest is a senior fellow at American Values, a conservative group that says it opposes a “culture of death,” and the former president of Americans United for Life. AUL’s work has been key to moving anti-abortion bills forward on the state level, since it claims to have offered state lawmakers 32 different kinds of anti-abortion model legislation, according to its website.

Full story here.

And because destruction in pursuit of oil will certainly make everything great again, fuck the land, fuck the oceans, fuck the arctic, and there’s no climate change, either!

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday that seeks to increase offshore oil drilling in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean. The order leaves out the Pacific Ocean and Eastern Gulf regions.

During the signing ceremony on Friday, Trump emphasized that the order will open the Arctic for drilling.

“It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban,” the president said. “So hear that: It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban, and directs Secretary Zinke to allow responsible development of offshore areas that will bring revenue to our Treasury and jobs to our workers.”

President Barack Obama protected 98 percent of the Arctic Ocean from oil leasing in December 2016, under Section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. The new order directs all areas protected as of July 2008 to be preserved, but anything else — including broad swaths of the Atlantic and Arctic — has been reopened.

Full story here.

The Tiny Tyrant spoke to the NRA, pledging his undying love and sucking up so damn hard, I’m amazed he didn’t swallow himself. Odd how weapons weren’t allowed at his little suck up session. Of course, what Amerikkka really needs to make it great are more guns, more, more, more! They are now sacred. Yep. There’s one lobby that will get whatever the fuck it wants. Way to drain the swamp there.  :Spits:

Trump pledged his allegiance to the powerful National Rifle Association, the country’s leading gun-rights advocacy group, at a convention attended by thousands. Elected in part on a law-and-order platform, Trump was the first sitting president to address the NRA since fellow Republican Ronald Reagan in 1983.

“As your president, I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” Trump told thousands of people attending the NRA’s annual convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

[…]

“You have a true friend and champion in the White House,” he said. “We want to assure you of the sacred right of self defense for all of our citizens.”

Full story here.

Sham and Stupidity.

We’ll start with the whole healthcare snarl, and the ongoing attempts at passing the Fuck You Care Plan. There are many obstacles to that vaunted repeal ‘n’ replace, a good many of them republicans, who are smart enough to realize that if they push for a repeal, their careers will be over. Easy enough to call just what will win in that scenario. Turns out, most politicians don’t, and didn’t want to do the repeal business, in spite of talking nonstop about it. A good many of them made noises about it, in order to secure elections, but they’d be happier if it all just faded away at this point. Byron York at The Washington Examiner has the full rundown.

Now, with a president who would sign an Obamacare repeal, there’s no way Republicans could get as many votes as last year.

“A pure repeal would get less than 200 votes,” said the second member quoted above. “It really is one of the biggest political shams in history — many of these members would not have been elected without promising repeal, and now they are wilting. Some are even complaining that [the Rep. Tom MacArthur amendment] pushes the bill too far right — even though is it far short of a full repeal.”

When repeal first failed last month, a number of commentators blamed the conservative House Freedom Caucus. In the days since, caucus members have made the case, convincingly, that they have shown an enormous amount of flexibility in trying to reach agreement with the Tuesday Group, made up of House GOP centrists.

Now, the centrists — a number of Republicans refer to them as “the mods,” for moderates — appear to be moving the goalposts, even as the conservatives offer concessions. Conservatives suspect the centrists were perfectly happy for conservatives to take the blame for killing the first bill, but now are showing their true colors by rejecting compromise on the second version. Whatever the circumstances, they don’t want to vote to repeal Obamacare.

The reason is fear. When the lawmaker said colleagues don’t want repeal “because of their district,” that was another way of saying the members are all representatives, and the voters they represent don’t want repeal. From The Hill on Thursday afternoon: “Many vulnerable Republicans are running scared. One moderate Republican was overheard in a House cafeteria this week telling an aide: ‘If I vote for this healthcare bill, it will be the end of my career.'”

Even among the more rabid contingent, King and Gohmert, et al., there’s an admission it most likely won’t happen. The Washington Examiner has the full story.

Moving on to another admission, about that stupid, fucking wall: “we know it’s dumb.”

The fact that few Republicans in the Capitol backed Trump’s strategy for the wall only strengthened Democrats’ resolve.

“Republicans in Congress don’t want the wall. And that is the most under-reported aspect of this whole skirmish,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). “Republicans in the leadership of both chambers actually hate that idea. They know it’s dumb.”

[…]

“The wall is broadly unpopular in the public. People would rather spend money on other priorities. And there’s unified Democratic opposition,” added Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “None of that changes in September.”

Politico has the full story.

One thing is more than clear: all the grass roots movements, all the protests, all the people demanding town halls, and showing up with questions? It’s working. Even the rethugs have gotten the message that in the current political climate, if you decide to ignore your constituents, your career isn’t going to flourish. Vive La Résistance!

Cool Stuff Friday.

Saint Incredibeard.

Oh, does this photo ever make me laugh, it’s great. For the consciously hirsute out there, have a visit to Incredibeard, and don’t miss the Incredibeard Instagram. Part of their proceeds goes to help children access clean water, too, so you can get some nifty stuff for beard care, and be socially conscious, too.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has their Birds of North America up and running, and it is a great resource for all of us dinosaur watchers out there, check it out!

#Hints You Are In Hell.

The U.S. Forest Service is not happy. They have very good reason for that, too. Some reading on the destruction to come:

Trump to sign executive order putting two decades of national monuments in jeopardy.

Trump’s order on national monuments decried as corporate ‘give-away’.

Via Raw Story.

Ruth Hopkins Sums Up.

Putting Oil CEO Kelcy Warren on a Parks & Wildlife Board is ludicrous. Its like giving Darth Vader a spot on the Jedi Council.”

Yep. Who better to be a steward of wild spaces? Think Progress has the full story.

Climate Change, Now A Witch Hunt!

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has come to Exxon’s defense — again. AP Photo/Eric Gay, File.

Climate change, why it’s a witch hunt, it is, for real and true! What this is actually about is protecting Exxon, with republicans going full court testerical over the issue, claiming the usual excuse, freeze peach.

Citing Exxon Mobil’s right to “free speech,” 11 state attorneys general — all Republicans — filed in court this week to stop an investigation into the oil and gas giant’s decades-long history of climate denial.

The attorneys general — from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin — filed a brief to support Exxon’s request to stop the so-called “Exxon Knew” investigation, arguing that there is a “public policy debate” over climate change and that the investigation is an “unconstitutional abuse” of power.

“The Constitution was written to protect citizens from government witch-hunts such as this one, where officials use their authority and the threat of criminal prosecution to try and suppress speech on a viewpoint they disagree with,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

This isn’t the first time Texas has intervened in the investigation on behalf of the state’s largest company. Paxton and his counterpart from Arkansas filed on behalf of Exxon in May of last year when it challenged a Virgin Islands subpoena. Paxton has said the investigations are “ridiculous.”

Think Progress has the full story.

Also see:

The Earth just passed another carbon threshold.

Climate change will fuel terrorism, report warns.

Dow Chemical gave $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, now wants pesticide risk study buried.

National Parks: WPA to 2050.

What America’s National Parks will look like by 2050 if we fail to act against climate change.

Hannah Rothstein has taken some of the iconic WPA (Works Progress Administration) National Parks Posters, from 1938 to 1941, and updated them to 2050 and a catastrophic future if we do not act on climate change. It’s a striking and effective way to get the message across, because the art and legacy of these posters is so well known, and they are beloved by many people. The WPA posters were a message and invitation to weary, beaten down people dealing with the Depression, that there were wonders, come and see! They were a promise of hope, of a better future. Now we have too many people who are actively denying climate change, or apathetic about it, little realizing that yes, it will most certainly impact them, and not in a good way. These re-worked posters are as brilliant as the originals, reminding people that if we choose to not act, we are inviting the harbingers of doom. These are a call to action, and I hope they start popping up all over the place.

You can see all of the posters, and purchase an original or fine art print here.

Via Raw Story.

Dakota Access Allowed to Keep Risks Secret.

© Marty Two Bulls.

It’s not enough that the pipeline went through, and once again, drinking water is threatened (which is fine, of course, because Indians), but ETP can now keep risk information to themselves. Just keeps getting worse. And to those people who think they are helping through vandalism? You aren’t, so fucking stop it.

Despite concerns that the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline could threaten the primary source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux, a federal judge ruled that the pipeline’s developer can keep some information about spill risks secret from the public.

The ruling — which would permit Energy Transfer Partners, the developer of the pipeline, to keep information about spill risks at certain points along the pipeline shielded from the public — comes after unknown protesters used a torch to burn holes in empty above-ground segments of the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes had argued that information about spill risks could potentially strengthen their case for more environmental review of the project.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg rejected that argument, saying that shielding the information from public view would prevent vandalism of the pipeline.

“The asserted interest in limiting intentionally inflicted harm outweighs the tribes’ generalized interests in public disclosure and scrutiny,” Boasberg said in his ruling.

[…]

Pipeline spills in North Dakota are not uncommon — according to analysis from the Center for Biological Diversity, North Dakota has averaged four pipeline spills a year since 1996, costing more than $40 million in property damage.

Under the Trump administration’s proposed budget, the Environmental Protection Agency would face sharp cuts in its enforcement programs, limiting its ability to enforce and penalize companies that violate environmental laws. When pipeline operators, for instance, violate laws like the Clean Water Act by spilling pollutants into waterways, the EPA is normally the agency that imposes fines on those operators. Last week, for instance, the EPA and the Department of Justice issued a fine against a pipeline operator in Ohio that violated the Clean Water Act by discharging approximately 1,950 barrels of gasoline from a pipeline into nearby waterways.

Think Progress has the full story.